This is an impressive list! File it as reason #3,912,007 to be proud of being an REI member!

Actions I took in 2021…

I acted on a long standing interest in photography as something that takes my multiple outdoors interests and travel interests and bind them together. I’ve found that to be an activity that allows me to advocate for conservation and stewardship as well. I did a project with the Potomac Riverkeepers that allowed me to produce photographic content for use in their educational publications. And, thanks to one of my fellow REI members, I got involved with Nature First, an org that addresses a little known problem in stewardship: the widespread damaging behavior of pro photographers ranging from pros to amateurs with cell phones. It’s been good for the Earth, but also good for me. One thing I’ve struggled with since acquiring a significant disability has been feeling useful. I’ve got a ways to go on that front. But I’m starting to feel useful again. 

Acts for 2022. . . . More nature, of course! The wild horses at Assateague Island will probably see me multiple times. I’ve also been looking into the return of marine mammals to the Chesapeake Bay. 

There is a grant program run by the manufacturer of the cameras that I use that specifically funds female photographers taking on passion projects. I’d like to apply for that grant to document the 400+ miles of the Potomac River from the Fairfax Stone (traditionally considered “the” source) to is mouth. It seems like everybody “knows” the Potomac is a stinky, trashed, polluted mess. And actually that is outdated. It used to be that way, and there is quite a bit of work yet to be done, but the Potomac River in 2021-2022 is a recovering water way and a real success story. We’ve even started seeing dolphins return and give birth at the mouth of the river. I’m always hearing how challenges of pollution, global warming, and so on, are too big to solve. But I believe juman problems can be solved by human beings. The Potomac River shows that yes, we can remedy these problems. And showing people something like that is always more powerful than merely telling them. So I’d like to show them the improving Potomac River. 

I have another project as well, related to pro-democracy activism in the U.S. I never thought I’d be talking about pro- or anti-democracy in the U.S., but here we are. I’ve been looking for a way to be involved. That one I’m not going to describe because I’m worried about increasing right wing political violence. But it’s another area where at least I’m starting to have some ideas form about how to be useful.